Home Improvement

Washing Clothes with Hard Water – How can living in a Hard Water area affect your Laundry

Washing clothes can be a tedious task and when we wash our clothes with hard water, it becomes frustrating. Hard water leaves stains on the clothes along with lingering odors. Whenever you feel that your clothes, sheets, or towels have become dingy, you must understand that the water that you wash your clothes in is hard. Even if you experience the harshness of clothes, it is because of hard water. So, what is hard water, and how does it affect our clothes or body?

Well, when the water has more minerals, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonates, etc., then it is known as hard water. Hard water reacts with chemicals like limestone and leaves white residue on our clothes. With a high concentration of these minerals in the water, the clothes become stiff and dull in color. If you want your clothes more often in hard water, then there is a possibility that the fabric fibers can actually break and create holes due to a large amount of mineral coating. Some of the common water laundry problems are:

  • Graying or yellowing of clothes. 
  • Soil buildup on the clothes that don’t wash away.
  • Stiff and hard-to-touch clothes. 
  • Weakened fibers in fabrics causing tears every now and then.
  • Grey and white streaks on colored fabrics. 
  • Dingy clothes

So, if you are also experiencing all these problems, then it’s probably time to change the method of washing clothes. Now that you know the effects of hard water on clothes, let us see how we can test if it is actually hard water or not.

How to test Hard Water

If you aren’t sure that the water coming into your house is hard or soft then there are certain ways to test it. Have a look!

  • Spots on the dishes.
  • Soap or shampoo doesn’t lather much in hard water.
  • Taps, fixtures, and faucets are hard to clean.  
  • Dry, itchy skin. 
  • Clothes are stiff and stains are prevalent. 

If you notice such signs, then your water is probably hard. You can also test hard water by filling an empty bottle and adding soap to it. Further, shake the bottle vigorously. If you see cloudy or milky-looking water without bubbles, then your water is hard. But don’t worry! There are ways of softening water too. Let’s see how!    

Ways to Soften Hard Water

Washing clothes in hard water is a challenging task because nobody can handle those stains and odors that are left after washing them with hard clothes. Below are some of the ways to soften hard water. 

  1. Vinegar can be used to condition water and soften fabrics. It lowers the water’s pH level and makes the minerals in hard water more soluble. There are detergents that come with vinegar infused in them. But if not, then you can add ½ – 1 cup of vinegar while washing clothes. Rayon and silk fabrics do well with vinegar. Make sure you are not using it excessively as it can shorten the fabric’s life. 
  2. Washing soda can also be used for washing clothes. It is soluble in water and reacts with minerals, thereby softening water. This allows the detergent to produce more lather and work better while preventing residue and odor. 
  3. Boil hard water before starting washing your clothes. Boiling will remove minerals from the water and doing laundry will become more convenient and useful. Thus, wash your clothes with warm water and put them in hot cycles. 
  4. Use a water filter to soften hard water. Attaching water filters to your taps can improve when you wash your clothes, take shower, or clean your dishes. Tap filters will resolve your issues of mineral buildup in your households. Try this technique!       
  5. Select the right cleaning products. Hard water stains are really hard to deal with. Thus, buying a high-quality cleaning product can actually help in washing clothes easily and effortlessly.
  6. Using a water softening product in your washing machine can help soften your clothes and water. This will also prevent buildups in clothes. 

So, these are some of the ways of softening water naturally to wash clothes. By following these tips and tricks, you can easily turn hard water into soft water. Now, what happens when you live in a hard water area? All you get is hard water for everything. 

Well, as far as washing is concerned, you can either use the tips mentioned above to soften water or you can buy a high-quality detergent to wash clothes easily. A good detergent contains all the ingredients that work to soften the water. All the detergents are suitable for hard water. You just need to adjust the dosage of it. A higher dose of detergent will go well with hard water. Washing clothes in a high dose of detergents clears the buildups and mineral deposits in your clothes and washing machine. 

Thus, if you have a gel detergent, then you must use 46 ml. Similarly, if you have liquid detergent, then 55 ml will do. And finally, if you have powder detergent, then 130 g is enough to wash clothes. 


1. How does hard water affect laundry?

Hard water damages the laundry process by preventing water from mixing with the detergent. As a result, soap does not lather, and clothes are not cleaned effectively while leaving a residue behind. 

2. Hard water or soft water: which is better for washing clothes?

Soft water is undoubtedly better for washing clothes. Hard water damages clothes faster as compared to soft water. Thus, if you live in a hard water area, either soften the water or wash clothes with high-quality detergent. 

3. Which detergent is best for hard water?

All the detergents suit the water hardness. We just have to adjust the doses of detergents that we put in. For hard water, extra detergent is required to clean clothes. 

 4. Does hard water shrink clothes? 

Yes, hard water shrinks and damages clothes. They break fabric fibers and lead to holes and tears in clothes. Thus, it is important to wash clothes in warm water to protect clothes from damage. Washing clothes can be a difficult task but with the right detergent and various tips, you can easily wash them.      

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